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18 June 2015 - Islandmagee Storage completes drilling on salt core well PDF Print E-mail

Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL), the company behind plans to develop a gas storage project in salt caverns below Larne Lough, has successfully completed the drilling of a salt core well.

The well – the first deep well to be drilled in the Larne Lough area since 1981 – was drilled to a depth of 1,753 metres to retrieve cores of the 250 million-year-old salt deposits. The cores of Permian salt will undergo laboratory analyses, including rock mechanical tests, to further define the design parameters and cost estimate for the project.

Anita Gardiner, Managing Director of IMSL commented: "We are pleased to report the successful completion of the drilling of the salt core well at Islandmagee. The analysis of the Permian salt is an integral part in the development of the gas storage project which is recognised on a European level as being a strategically important asset that will improve the security of energy supply and increase the flexibility available in the gas markets in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It will enable greater interconnectivity across these three neighbouring markets whilst supporting the achievement of national renewable and carbon reduction targets.”

The numerous wellsite personnel involved in the five-week drilling programme at Islandmagee included Larne-based Geological Data Services, who provided geology services for the well.

Acknowledging the huge effort from everyone involved, Ms Gardiner said: “The drilling was a 24-hour-a-day operation and its successful conclusion is testament to the hard work and commitment put in by the entire team. From the site security staff to the wellsite engineers, everyone played a key part in making sure this test well was completed smoothly and without impact to the local community. Islandmagee Storage was delighted to have been able to use many local services and provide a boost to local businesses throughout the five-week period. We look forward to working further with local stakeholders as the project develops.”

Results from the salt analyses are expected towards the end of the year. The costs of the 2015 work programme are being funded 50% by the European Commission under their Connecting Europe Facility.

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18 May 2015 - Salt core well for gas storage project gets underway PDF Print E-mail

Drilling to obtain samples of Permian salt from a mile below Larne Lough got underway this week by Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL) marking a key milestone in the development of the company’s multi-million pound Islandmagee gas storage project.

The test well – which is expected to take around five weeks to complete ¬– will enable IMSL to carry out analysis on the 250 million-year-old salt deposits to confirm the project’s viability and complete the design of the caverns in which it proposes to create and store 500 million cubic metres of natural gas – enough to satisfy Northern Ireland’s demand for 60 days.

Speaking about the commencement of the salt core drilling operations, Anita Gardiner, Managing Director of IMSL said: "We are pleased to report commencement of the drilling of the well at Islandmagee. The analysis of the Permian salt is an integral part in the development of the gas storage project. The project is recognised on a European level as a strategically important asset that will improve the security of supply and increase the flexibility available in the gas markets in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and enable greater interconnectivity across these three neighbouring markets, whilst supporting the achievement of national renewable and carbon reduction targets.”

IMSL aims to have all the laboratory analyses, including rock mechanical tests to further define the design parameters and cost estimate for the project, completed by the end of 2015. The costs of this 2015 work programme are being funded 50% by the European Commission under their Connecting Europe Facility.

Gas storage has been used safely throughout Europe for more than 40 years in areas where the salt sequences are sufficiently thick to create caverns. The Larne Lough area is the only place on the island of Ireland where a suitable underground salt sequence has been found. In addition to the favourable geology of the area, Islandmagee already contains the main gas and electricity network required for gas storage.

Over the last eight years the company has been liaising with local stakeholders on its plans to construct seven caverns within the Permian salt layer below Larne Lough. Two dedicated stakeholder liaison groups have been established for the project – a Community Liaison Group (CLG) and a Marine Science Group (MSG).

The CLG is managed by the company and has been established to keep the local community informed at each stage of activity for the project. The MSG, which is managed by DoE Marine Division, incorporates members of the relevant government agencies, the fishing community, marine tourism stakeholders, non-government organisations and IMSL representatives. The MSG has been the forum through which mitigation and monitoring measures have been developed and agreed for incorporation into the various marine licences required by the project. The MSG will remain an integral part of the regulation and monitoring of the brine discharge, the composition of which will be confirmed by analysing the salt cores recovered from the well.

Recognising the valuable contribution made by these groups, Ms Gardiner said: “The liaison groups continue to provide a two-way forum for the company to share information about the construction activities and the marine monitoring programme and offer an important mechanism for the local community and other stakeholders to feedback information on project activities. IMSL is grateful for all the work carried out to date by the liaison groups and thanks the local community in Islandmagee for all their support and co-operation to date – particularly during the recent site preparation and rig mobilisation work. We look forward to working closely with all our stakeholders as the project develops further.”

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25 February 2015 - Islandmagee Storage secures funding for salt core well PDF Print E-mail

Islandmagee Storage Limited (“IMSL”) today announces that the company has successfully raised the balance of the funding required to proceed with a salt core well for its multi-million pound gas storage project at Islandmagee.

Half of the €5 million cost of drilling the well and undertaking additional engineering studies will come from grant funding from the European Union which was approved in November last year as part of its Connecting Europe Facility.

The well – which is planned to get underway in May this year – will be drilled from the already-constructed wellpad site off the Ballylumford Road to obtain unique cores of the Permian salt which exists a mile below Larne Lough. The drilling will take place over a six week period. The findings from the analysis of the salt cores will allow IMSL to complete the design of the caverns in which it proposes to store 500 million cubic metres of natural gas – enough to satisfy Northern Ireland’s demand for 60 days. IMSL was granted planning permission for the above-ground facilities for the natural gas storage facility in October 2012.

Anita Gardiner, Managing Director of IMSL said: “The company is delighted to have secured this important funding which will enable us to move significantly forward with this exciting project.

“The analysis of the Permian salt is an integral part in the development of the £274 million Islandmagee gas storage project, which is recognised on a European level as a strategically important asset that will have a significant positive impact on the dynamics of the gas market in the whole of Ireland and add hugely to the security of gas supplies in Northern Ireland.”

Over the last eight years the company has been liaising with local stakeholders on its plans to construct seven caverns within the Permian salt layer below Larne Lough. Two dedicated stakeholder liaison groups have been established for the project – a Community Liaison Group (“CLG”) and a Marine Science Group (“MSG”). The purpose of the groups is to ensure that during construction and subsequent operation of the Islandmagee gas storage facility, IMSL works closely with the community to minimise the impact of the facility on its neighbours.

The CLG is managed by the company and has been established to keep the local community informed at each stage of activity for the project. The MSG, which is managed by DoE Marine Division, incorporates members of the relevant government agencies, the fishing community, marine tourism stakeholders, non-government organisations and IMSL representatives. The MSG has been the forum through which mitigation and monitoring measures have been developed and agreed for incorporation into the various marine licences required by the project. The MSG will remain an integral part of the regulation and monitoring of the brine discharge, the composition of which will be confirmed by analysing the salt cores recovered from the well.

Various plans have been prepared by IMSL in advance of the drilling activity to ensure that potential impacts, such as noise and traffic levels, are managed properly and impacts to local residents are minimised.

Ms Gardiner stated: “IMSL is strongly committed to working with local residents and other key stakeholders to ensure any inconvenience arising from the proposed works is kept to the minimum possible levels. The Liaison Groups will provide a two-way forum for the company to share information about the construction activities and the marine monitoring programme, as well as providing an important mechanism for the local community and other stakeholders to feed back information. IMSL is grateful for all the work carried out to date by the groups and looks forward to working closely with them as the project gathers pace.”

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15 September 2014 - A new director to be appointed at Islandmagee Storage PDF Print E-mail

InfraStrata plc and Mutual Energy Limited, the partners in Islandmagee Storage Limited (IMSL) are pleased to announce that Anita Gardiner is to be appointed as a director of the company.

Originally from Ballymena, Anita is joining InfraStrata plc in October following nine years at BP. She will be based in Northern Ireland and manage the Islandmagee gas storage project, a role she undertook previously in her last post with BP throughout the two years they were involved in the project until January 2014.

Welcoming Anita to the team, Andrew Hindle, CEO of InfraStrata plc said:

“We are very pleased to welcome Anita Gardiner. She will be a key member of the IMSL team based in Northern Ireland at a time when the project moves into a more active period.”

Commenting on project progress, Mr Hindle continued:

“IMSL continue to make progress towards drilling a well at Islandmagee which, subject to completing funding, will be drilled in early 2015. This will be a key milestone towards making the creation of a gas storage facility a reality.”

The Islandmagee well will be drilled to a total depth of approximately 1700 metres. It will be a data gathering well which will core the Permian salt and enable the project front‐end engineering design to be completed.

Subject to being granted a ‘Consent to Drill’ by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, and IMSL completing the funding, it is planned to drill the Islandmagee well as part of the same drilling programme as InfraStrata’s Woodburn Forest oil and gas exploration well.

IMSL and InfraStrata are planning to hold public information events during November to provide further information and answer questions from the public on each of the planned wells. Information on when and where these events will be held will be advertised in advance in the local papers.

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28 January 2013 - BP withdraws from Islandmagee Gas Storage project PDF Print E-mail

BP Gas Marketing Limited (BPGM) has decided to withdraw from the Islandmagee gas Storage project, near Larne, County Antrim, following a review of its European wide gas assets portfolio which determined that further investment in gas storage in Northern Ireland is no longer aligned with the portfolio’s objectives. Accordingly, BPGM and Islandmagee Gas Storage Limited (IMSL) have agreed terms for BPGM to relinquish its option to acquire 50.495% of the shares of IMSL.

ISML Director, Paddy Larkin, commented,

“As development partners, we are naturally disappointed by BPGM’s business decision not to invest further in the Islandmagee gas storage project.”

Mr Larkin made it clear, however, that IMSL still viewed the Islandmagee project very positively. He said,

“It is certainly not the end for Islandmagee or for gas storage in Northern Ireland. The project remains intact and we have the funds available to secure the project for the future. We are convinced that the attributes of the Islandmagee development, as a project, remain undiminished.”

Mr Larkin explained those ‘attributes’,

“ We have a highly advantageous site with uniquely favourable geology and proximity to major strong points on the electricity and gas grids. Considerable progress has been made on securing a future cross border regulatory environment suitable for gas storage and we have obtained planning permission, land rights, and other important development consents. The quality of the project and its priority nature have also been recognised by the European Union with the designation ‘Project of Common Interest’.

So all in all I would say that we still have an excellent project, ripe for development.”

Mr Larkin concluded,

“We have made superb progress with BPGM’s assistance and are grateful for the contribution that BPGM has made in helping us advance the project to this point.

It remains our firm purpose to find a new investor so that this important project can proceed to the next stage of development.”

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